27 September 2006

Finally, Signs of Working Together

Olmert Addresses Religious-Zionist Public [Israel National News]

A day-long conference on the role of religious-Zionism in Israel was held yesterday at the Jerusalem-based Israel Democracy Institute.

Fascinating. Did I miss the press release announcing this event beforehand? In any case, I wish I'd been there.

"Everyone does, to some degree," Rabbi [Avi] Gisser [of Ofra] said. "We discussed [the question of whether we should participate] amongst ourselves [religious-Zionist rabbis and leaders] beforehand, some 30 of us, and we realized that though there were definitely political overtones, it was clear to us that when you're invited to speak about the Jewish character of the State of Israel, and the role of Religious-Zionism is placed at the center of the national discourse, then that's the right thing to do."

Which highlights the very nature of Judaism as both a religious and a political ideology. I can recall times when religious leaders would be warned about endorsing political candidates/parties from the dais-- I couldn't help but think how stupid that was, not because I'm against the separation of powers, but because separating those two veins of thought contradicts Judaism. When you are a Jew, your Judaism informs the choices you make-- including the candidates you vote for in an election. All right, you don't want to support a particular candidate, that's fine. But you are responsible, as religious leaders, to guide the public according to the teachings of scripture. We can only then hope that those teachings will inspire informed choices among the population at large. But trying to completely divide religion and politics, as if one has no effect on the other, is absurd.

The day-long summit was entitled, "The Jewish Character of the State of Israel - Religious Zionism as an element motivating national discourse."

Hm, more like: "Religious Zionism as the motivating force that will save the State of Israel from complete destruction." Of course, this is true as long as "religious Zionism" is defined as G-d motivated Zionism, not Rabbinically-motivated Zionism. (Now, if the Rabbis are motivated by G-d, then that falls into the former, not the latter.)

Among other things that could honestly be labeled "liberal claptrap," Olmert said that one's Zionism cannot be based only on whether or not he supports withdrawals. Seriously, he and Bill Clinton should hang out. What dreck. And any hope Olmert had of regaining his political stature-- GONE. The guy would've made better use of his time if he shot golf balls in the Knesset for three hours.

Olmert thus implied that the orange camp must similarly not let the act of the Disengagement affect its feelings towards the State.

Again, illustrating the great liberal disconnect between ideology and politics. It reminds me of Whittaker Chambers's account of the communist attitude towards sex. To the communist, sex was something done for enjoyment and had no emotional element whatsoever-- until, of course, one partner caught the other partner in bed with someone else. Then, all that seemingly valiant political claptrap sorta went down the drain-- you know, like Olmert's political career.

Olmert described the religious-Zionist sector as one that "lives on the periphery and has felt neglected for years." In response, IsraelNationalRadio's Alex Traiman, a self-described religious-Zionist, commented that he doesn't feel peripheral: "Even citizens living in Judea and Samaria are doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc., working in the center of the country and in the center of Israeli public life..."

HA! I love it. The classic leftist technique of making a minority out of your enemy in order to placate them into submission, SHOT DOWN! Heh, burn. Sweet.

Regarding the essential need for religious/secular respect and cooperation, Rabbi Gisser said, "It was clear that the boundaries of Jewish dialogue must be broadened so that we can all find our place in Israel on the basis of the importance of strengthening the State's Judaism.

THIS is the kind of unity we need at this hour. We're Jews-- if anyone can admit that we're never going to agree on religious practices, it's us. But the one thing we can agree on is that without Israel, we won't be practicing much of anything at all, except, maybe, how to pose properly in front of a firing squad. This is the perspective that Jews the world over need to understand and operate on if we're going to survive and claim victory: in order to win, we must set aside our religious differences and unite as one. How are we going to go about uniting as one? By respecting the fact that we're all Jews-- orthodox, reform, conservative, secular, messianic, convert, half-breed-- when we commit ourselves to the survival of Israel as a JEWISH state, we are Jews. And, as HaShem so clearly points out time and time again in scripture-- DON'T MESS WITH THE JEWS.

This was something that everyone agreed upon, even those who are not religious... For instance, there is an initiative in the Knesset, led by non-religious MKs, to promote public Sabbath observance - not on the basis of religious law, but on the basis of social justice, allowing everyone to have a day off, etc... "

Again, we see the intertwining of socio-political issues with Judaism. This is something that Jews in the galut especially do not understand. Just as they can't relate to their Judaism as a physical, national identity, they often cannot see the physical, practical, and even ideological meanings behind the spiritual laws. Do you see how much we have to learn from one another?

Fascinating. I hope much good comes from this, and we can finally start working together while we still have an Israel to save. Baruch haShem, may His Name be Glorified in the doing of it.



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